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North's Brown named Gatorade's state player of the year

North Gwinnett's Lexie Brown

North Gwinnett's Lexie Brown

North Gwinnett senior Lexie Brown was announced Thursday morning as the Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Brown as Georgia’s best high school girls basketball player.

"Lexie is a tremendous basketball player that makes our team and her teammates better," North girls coach Bryan Sellers said. "She has worked tirelessly to improve all facets of her game and it has paid off. I am so proud of her."

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award announced in March, Brown joins an elite alumni association of past state girls basketball award-winners, including Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Diana Taurasi (1998-99 & 1999-00, Don Antonio Lugo HS, Calif.), Maya Moore (2005-06 Collins Hill HS, Ga.), Rashanda McCants (2004-05, Asheville HS, N.C.), Shyra Ely (1999-00, Ben Davis HS, Ind.) and Lisa Leslie (1988-89, Morningside HS, Calif.).

The 5-foot-10 senior point guard averaged 18.4 points, 6.9 assists, 5.1 steals and 4.9 rebounds per game this past season, leading the Bulldogs (30-2) to the Class AAAAAA state championship game. A McDonald’s High School All-American Game and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-America Game selection, Brown shot 42 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the free throw line.

Brown recorded 20 points, five assists and two steals in a 63-42 loss to Norcross in the state title game. As a member of the USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team, she averaged 5.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.8 steals per game during Team USA’s gold medal run in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Brown has maintained a 3.99 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria. In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball instructor, coaching a fifth grade Amateur Athletic Union basketball team and co-founding a mentorship program for younger Bulldogs players, Brown has volunteered locally at the annual Taste of Suwanee and on behalf of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“Lexie Brown has a wonderful attitude both on and off the court,” said Jackie Lindquist, head coach of rival Mountain View High. “She has the ability to make everyone around her better while still doing the things necessary to help her team win. She carries herself like a winner and is always respectful of her opponent. She plays the game with class.”

Brown has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Maryland this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Brown joins recent Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Players of the Year Allisha Gray (2011-12, Washington County High School), Diamond DeShields (2010-11, Norcross High School), Kayla Lewis (2009-10, Southwest DeKalb), Anne Marie Armstrong (2008-09, Wesleyan School), Alicia Manning (2007-08, Etowah), and Maya Moore (2006–07, Collins Hill) among the state’s list of former award winners.